Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The US is preparing a $2 billion aid package for Ukraine, including longer-range weapons.'

'US readies $2 billion-plus Ukraine aid package with longer-range weapons'

 WASHINGTON: Two US officials briefed on the situation told Reuters on Tuesday that the United States is preparing more than $2 billion in military aid for Ukraine. This aid is expected to include new weapons and ammunition, including longer-range rockets.

According to the officials, the aid could be announced as soon as this week. They added that it is also anticipated to include Javelin anti-tank weapons, precision-guided munitions, and support equipment for Patriot air defense systems.

One of the officials stated that a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which enables President Joe Biden's administration to acquire weapons from industry rather than from US weapons stocks, would provide a portion of the estimated $1.725 billion package.

The Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) from Boeing Co., which has a range of 94 miles (150 kilometers), would be purchased with the money from USAI. Ukraine has requested the 185-mile (297-kilometer)-range ATACMS missile from the United States.

The longer range of the GLSDB glide bomb might make it possible for Ukraine to strike previously inaccessible targets and enable it to push its counterattacks further by disrupting Russia further behind its lines.

In November, Boeing's proposal to deploy GLSDB for Ukraine was first reported by Reuters. GLSDB was anticipated to arrive in Ukraine by spring at the time.

Boeing and SAAB AB jointly produce GLSDB. It incorporates the M26 rocket motor and the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), both of which are prevalent in US stockpiles.

According to SAAB's website, GLSDB is GPS-guided, effective against some electronic jamming, usable in any weather, and effective against armored vehicles. The GBU-39, which would be the warhead for the GLSDB, has small, folding wings that make it able to glide more than 100 kilometers when dropped from an airplane and hit targets as small as 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter.

According to one official, the USAI funds would also be used to purchase additional HAWK air defense components, counter drone systems, counter artillery and air surveillance radars, communications equipment, PUMA drones, and spare parts for major systems like Patriot and Bradley.

The official added that there was also a significant amount of medical equipment, enough to outfit three field hospitals, donated by another ally.

The White House did not respond. The size and contents of aid packages can change until the president signs them.

More than $400 million in aid was anticipated to come from the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which grants the president the authority to withdraw funds from current US stocks in the event of an emergency.

Ammunition, guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) were anticipated components of that assistance.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States has provided Ukraine with security assistance worth approximately $27.2 billion. The invasion is called a "special operation" by Russia.

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